Letter V, To Alexander.
7. To Alexander.
[Ep. v.]—Alexander was with his father1
at the time when Isokrates wrote this Letter, which was sent along with one addressed to Philip—doubtless the Letter just analysed. Philip was in Thrace or the Chersonese from May, 342, to the latter part of 339 B.C.; and, at some time after his departure, appointed Alexander his regent in Macedonia2
. But, when this Letter was written, that arrangement had not yet been made. Alexander, a boy of fourteen, is busy with his studies; and Isokrates cannot refrain from a little thrust at the young prince's new tutor. It was probably in this very year (342) that Alexander began to receive the lessons of Aristotle3
‘As I am writing to your father, and you are with him,
it would be strange if I did not greet you also, and show that old age has still left me some sense. (§ 1.) All say that you are kindly, fond of Athens, fond of learning,—and this in a wise way. The Athenians with whom you live are not uncultivated men, with low political views; but men pleasant socially, and also able to give sound counsel. Your
chosen philosophy is not the eristic, which teaches subtlety in private discussion; but the practical philosophy which educates a statesman in debate, in political action, in discerning right and wrong. (§§ 2—4.) You do well to make this your study; and give promise of surpassing other men as far as your father has surpassed all.’ (§ 5.)